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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

From Today's Papers - 16 Feb 2016

Command-exit model gets SC endorsement
R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 15
The Supreme Court today endorsed the government’s command exit policy for promotions in the Army in order to reduce the age profile of commanding officers and achieve optimal combat effectiveness, as suggested by The Ajay Vikram Singh committee in the light of the 1999 Kargil war.

“There is nothing perverse, unreasonable or unfair about the policy that the age of officers serving in combat arms and combat arms support will be lowered by creating additional vacancies to be allotted on command exit model,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph ruled in a 58-page judgment.

The court delivered the verdict on appeals by the Centre challenging the Armed Forces Tribunal’s March 2, 2015, order quashing the government’s January 20, 2009, policy circular.

Citing the lower age profiles of commanding officers in Japan, China and Pakistan, the government had sought to ensure quicker promotions for such officers in combat arms and combat arms support in India by creating additional posts for them. The affected officers in other units had gone to the AFT, challenging the circular.

The SC ruled that all Army officers could not be treated as belonging to a single cadre as in the case of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or the Indian Police Service (IPS). While hearing the appeals, the court had framed a question: “Do officers serving in arms and arms support services constitute a single cadre?”

“We have no difficulty in answering the question in the negative and holding that officers in service streams do not constitute a single cadre with those serving in arms and arms support for purposes of allocation of additional vacancies created pursuant to the recommendations made to the government by the AV Singh committee,” the Bench said.

As a result, it refused to accept the contention of the affected officers that the policy had denied them their “legitimate expectation for batch parity”.
Siachen bravehearts’ bodies flown home
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
The bodies of nine soldiers buried alive in an avalanche on the Siachen glacier on February 3 were flown in here from the Ladakh region today.

The bodies were later flown to Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Madurai, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram for sending these to the native villages of the deceased soldiers.

After a C130J Indian Air Force aircraft carrying the bodies of the soldiers touched down at the Palam airport here, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh were among those who laid wreaths on the coffins to pay their last respects to the bravehearts.

On February 3, 10 soldiers were buried under nearly 30 feet of ice and snow when an avalanche hit Sonam Post at an altitude of around 20,000 feet.

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was the only one found alive although he remained trapped under the snow for about six days. He died due to multi-organ failure at the Army Hospital Research and Referral in New Delhi on Thursday. Koppad was cremated in his home town in Karnataka on Friday.

The bodies of the remaining nine soldiers were retrieved a week after the tragedy. Bad weather in the region hindered the process of flying the bodies out of Ladakh.

The nine soldiers who died in the avalanche were: Subedar Nagesha TT of Tejur village in Karnataka; Havaldar Elum Alai M of Dukkam Parai village in Tamil Nadu; Lance Havildar S Kumar of Kumanan Thozhu village in Tamil Nadu; Lance Naik Sudheesh B of Monroethuruth village in Kerala; Sepoy Mahesha PN of HD Kote village in Karnataka; Sepoy Ganesan G of Chokkathevan Patti village in Tamil Nadu; Sepoy Rama Moorthy N of Gudisa tana Palli village in Tamil Nadu; Sepoy Mustaq Ahmed S of Parnapalle villagein Andhra Pradesh; and Sepoy (Nursing Assistant) Suryawanshi SV of Maskarwadi village in Maharashtra.
Missiles hit school, hospital in Syrian border town; 50 kille
Amman, February 15
At least 50 civilians were killed when missiles hit a children's hospital, a school and other locations in the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz near the Turkish border on Monday.

"Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned by reports of missile attacks on at least five medical facilities and two schools in Aleppo and in Idlib, which killed close to 50 civilians, including children, and injuring many," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

At least five missiles hit the hospital in the town centre and a nearby school, where refugees fleeing a major Syrian army offensive were sheltering. A resident said another refugee shelter south of the town was also hit by bombs dropped by jets believed to be Russian.

Tens of thousands of people have fled to the town, the last rebel stronghold before the border with Turkey, from towns and villages where there is heavy fighting between the Syrian army and militias. "We have been moving scores of screaming children from the hospital," said medic Juma Rahal. Ambulances ferried scores of injured people to Turkey for treatment, he said.

French charity Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said in a statement that at least eight staff were missing after four rockets hit a hospital that it supported in the province of Idlib in north western Syria.

Kurdish anti-government forces are advancing from the west and have been fighting anti-government insurgents in the town, only a few kilometres away from the main Bab al Salam border crossing. The Syrian army is advancing from the south. Both the Kurds and the army want to wrest control of that stretch of border with Turkey from the insurgents.

Russian bombing raids on rebel fighters are helping the Syrian army to advance toward Aleppo, the country's largest city and commercial centre before the conflict. If the army takes the city, it will by the Syrian government's biggest victory of the war. — Reuters
Kupwara intruders were LeT terrorists, states Indian Army - See more at:
Srinagar: The five militants killed in an encounter yesterday in Kupwara district of north Kashmir were all foreigners and belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the army said yesterday. - See more at:
“The weapons and other equipment we recovered from them (imply) they were from Lashkar (e-Taiba),” General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua, told reporters.

The army commander was addressing media after paying tributes to the two jawans who were also killed in the encounter.
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